Belief in biblical end-times stifling climate change action in U.S.: study

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The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change thanks in part to the large number of religious Americans who believe the world has a set expiration date.


Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing climate change.

“[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study, which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly.

The study, based on data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, uncovered that belief in the “Second Coming” of Jesus reduced the probability of strongly supporting government action on climate change by 12 percent when controlling for a number of demographic and cultural factors. When the effects of party affiliation, political ideology, and media distrust were removed from the analysis, the belief in the “Second Coming” increased this effect by almost 20 percent.

Written By: Eric W. Dolan
continue to source article at rawstory.com

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  1. The time for ridicule is well over due. That such a majority of right wing American lawmakers believe in a supernatural “return” of a character in a book is quite literally beyond belief. What an incredibly bright and yet incredibly stupid species of ape we are.

  2. Christian beliefs are utterly nuts. Christians have told me that global warming MUST be harmless because God would never let humans hurt themselves like that. Huh? Is that the same god that killed nearly all living things on earth with flood? Is that the same god that torments people for eternity after they are dead? Is that same god who tortured his loyal follower Job for no reason at all? God as cosmic cleaning lady is so absurd.

    These lunatics are killing us and our descendants. We have to take off the gloves.

  3. My dad would tell me that it was arrogant of people to think they had greater power than god and could affect the climate of an entire planet. I don’t know – 7 billion plus people is an awful lot of people.

    I remember hearing a lecture from someone working in environmental law – she said one of their challenges was dealing with religious people who believed that by destroying the planet, they were bringing about Christ’s quick return. What a nightmare.

  4. For those who think humans aren’t powerful enough to make a big difference, let’s crunch the numbers with regard to a rise in atmospheric CO2. The atmosphere is thin, and not very dense, and hardly any of it is CO2, so atmospheric CO2 is many orders of magnitude less than Earth’s mass. Divide by 7 billion… well, let’s do this.

    The atmospheric pressure at sea level, strength of gravity and surface area of Earth tell us the atmosphere’s mass is about 5 million billion tonnes. We know what fraction of it is CO2; it’s much less than one thousandth, and so we’re talking (about 15) hundreds of billions of tonnes. And we therefore know how many billions of tonnes have been gained since 1880. How has it increased by 40 %, which is an increase of a few hundred billion tonnes? Probably because humans emit 30 billion tonnes a year. (4 each? Not difficult, considering the energy yield of combustion.)

    In fact, every year the atmosphere gains 15 billion tonnes of CO2, as does the ocean. Do the math. Indeed, literally do the math; you can work out how big a pH change that much extra CO2 would cause. Oh, look – it’s precisely the change that has been observed.

  5. i find it very difficult to get my head around the u.s mindset in regards of belief and so called end times.if i remember the bible correctly jesus said it would happen within a generation,well it didn’t and now over 60 generations later vast numbers of so called intelligent people still think its just around the corner! personally here in my little corner of the u.k i do not know anyone who subscribes to either this or the great american import “the rapture”,not even my church going mother.

    • In reply to #5 by disillusioned hippy:

      …personally here in my little corner of the u.k i do not know anyone who subscribes to either this or the great american import “the rapture”,not even my church going mother.

      Yes, it’s weird. Growing up and living in the UK, where I had to attend regular Christian services every week at school, I’d never even heard of “the rapture” until a few years ago when I started reading about American Christian fundamentalists.

    • In reply to #6 by Os:

      Americans – a mixed race of people, some clever, innovative and industrious supporting a vacuous, over nourished, over consuming, poorly educated halfwit majority.

      Spot ON !!

      • In reply to #7 by F_Ellatio:

        In reply to #6 by Os:

        Americans – a mixed race of people, some clever, innovative and industrious supporting a vacuous, over nourished, over consuming, poorly educated halfwit majority.

        Spot ON !!

        There are no frontiers to human nature. We could say exactly the same about the UK or anywhere else for that matter.

    • In reply to #6 by Os:

      Americans – a mixed race of people, some clever, innovative and industrious supporting a vacuous, over nourished, over consuming, poorly educated halfwit majority.

      25% of the few people who bothered to turn out for local elections in the UK yesterday voted for UKIP, so the Americans are not the only people for whom all hope is lost.

    • In reply to #6 by Os:

      Americans – a mixed race of people, some clever, innovative and industrious supporting a vacuous, over nourished, over consuming, poorly educated halfwit majority.

      The problem is the halfwit majority. What has been under-emphasized about government by the people is the responsibility of the people to govern wisely, that is to become educated enough to make wise decisions about the issues at large. It’s easier (and more instinctive) to just the news channels and tall hats than it is to assure we are well-informed and judge issues critically.

      We suffer from an academic tragedy of the commons where the people behave not as is their duty, but as they tend to behave.

      Now if only we could effectively govern a society run by apes.

  6. In the circumstances I think we have to be much more assertive about the sheer immorality of holding these end of time beliefs.

    Think whatever you want but when you fail to act rationally in the face of real evidence, having none of your own to offer in return, you become an active source for ill. Far, far, more often these people need to be called immoral for their lack of diligence and collective concern. The cherished American right-to-my-own-ignorant-opinion may yet deliver a self fulfilling prophecy.

  7. These fundamentalist Christians, then, seem to be abdicating their responsibilities of stewardship for the earth and its resources, upon which humanity’s survival and wellbeing depend. This surprises me somewhat, because it is a matter of fundamental morality and I had always had the impression that Christians considered themselves to live by the highest moral standards. Are they now abandoning morality as central to their beliefs? They cannot have it both ways.

    As is clear from sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, the Second Coming has nothing to do with anything that any humans do, and no-one knows when the victorious Jesus will come again in power to judge and rule the world, but he was expected within a few years of his death nearly two thousand years ago. What is clear in traditional Christian belief is that the Second Coming will not be induced by people’s wilful neglect of the environment. If the fundamentalists think this divine action can be so induced, they betray the true nature of their shoddy beliefs: namely that the god they believe in is a figment of their own wilful imaginations.

  8. Recently, my younger sister got divorced. What does this have to do with climate change you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

    She told me she thought, at the time, she was making a mistake in marrying Keith. Why did you go through with it, I asked. And, here it is: I knew god would not let me make a mistake, she answered.

    I pointed out to her – and yet, a mistake was made.

    “Yes, by me! she exclaimed. “It was my fault. Those thoughts I was having was god warning me that I was making a mistake and I didn’t listen.”

    But, then god did let you make a mistake, I reminded her. She looked confused. I didn’t get it she told me. God didn’t screw up, she did. God is never wrong, we are, as people.

    “Would god let us kill the planet through global warming then?” I asked. Of course not, she replied. That is a much bigger issue. God loves us and will save us from ourselves, but, that is IF global warming is real. Scientists disagree, she replied.

    So, this is one of the intellectual hoops people jump through. It is never god’s fault. It is always our fault. God warns us, but it is up to us to do something about it. But, of course, if it gets really bad, he’ll do something about it.

    There is no way to win against this god.

    • Ask your younger sister to explain this: god supposedly saved the Jews from slavery in Egypt, but where was he when his so-called chosen people were slaughtered in their millions by Hitler. How bad do things need to get for his intervention? I am curious to hear her answer.

      In reply to #18 by MAJORPAIN:

      Recently, my younger sister got divorced. What does this have to do with climate change you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

      She told me she thought, at the time, she was making a mistake in marrying Keith. Why did you go through with it, I asked. And, here it is: I knew god would not let me make a mistak…

      • I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here, BND, but my Christian friend can supply an answer to your question. To this very dilemma about the Holocaust she replies: “Ah, you see, that was not God, that was human badness that slaughtered all these people. Humans had a God given choice and they chose wrong, etc.etc.etc.”

        Another one of her justifications, in the case of natural disasters, is the one: ” Ah, but that’s nature, that’s not God, these things happen” to which I reply: If it’s not God in the ‘human ‘ disaster nor in the ‘natural’ disaster, why depend on Him at all since He seems to be useless in both cases?

        Unfortunately, I have heard such justifications from other believers, which just goes to show how indoctrinated and submissive they are to the doctrines, how entrenched in blind belief they live – it is truly frightening.

          _In reply to [#22](#comment-box-22) by BigNoboDaddy:_
        

        Ask your younger sister to explain this: god supposedly saved the Jews from slavery in Egypt, but where was he when his so-called chosen people were slaughtered in their millions by Hitler. How bad do things need to get for his intervention? I am curious to hear her answer.

        In reply to #18 by MAJOR…

        • Thanks for the reply.

          But what about the divine plan and the all-loving, benevolent, all powerful, merciful and all-knowing god. When they reply with such nonsense introduce them to the problem of theodicy. When god created Hitler he foresaw what would happen (all-knowing) and free-will does not exist if you have an all-knowning god. What will happen in the future is his will not yours. Leave them to stew in their self inflicted mental contortions in trying to make sense with the problem of theodicy. Also I recommend that they should read their bible instead of just believing in it. There is no hope! In reply to #23 by HenMie:

          I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here, BND, but my Christian friend can supply an answer to your question. To this very dilemma about the Holocaust she replies: “Ah, you see, that was not God, that was human badness that slaughtered all these people. Humans had a God given choice and the…

          • Don’t fret, maybe they will read it – that’s our hope! :)

            In reply to #24 by BigNoboDaddy:

            Thanks for the reply.

            But what about the divine plan and the all-loving, benevolent, all powerful, merciful and all-knowing god. When they reply with such nonsense introduce them to the problem of theodicy. When god created Hitler he foresaw what would happen (all-knowing) and free-will does not ex…

  9. Yes, they’re deranged, but we knew that. What’s our excuse? Most of the non-deranged people in the world is not really willing to do what needs to be done either. That is much harder to understand, IMO. Which means that’s the more interesting discussion.

  10. There have been many times (mostly under Republican Presidents) when it has been easy to be “anti-american”, a condition in which I have often found myself. My antidote has been to look at the history of the Revolution, it’s incredibly bloodless aftermath and the enlightened constitution that followed, the decision to fight a civil war to prevent the expansion of slavery and the role played in ensuring that the good guys won the two world wars. It is too sad to see this model of enlightened thinking and governance with it’s head up it’s arse contemplating 2,000 year old infantile fantasy. What is so mind-numbingly shocking is that the indifference to climate change by the most powerful state in the world may actually fulfil these cretinous prophesies 4 billion years early. Aaghhhhh!! see what reading this type of article does to you? It makes you paranoid. Now I understand more of the psyche of your typical Daily Mail reader.

  11. In 1991 I read: The Imperative of Responsibility – In search of an ethics for the modern Technological Age by Hans Jonas. Its not science but philosophy and sadly, what has unfolded since then is his prophesy of doom. I have since then given up hope for the survival of humankind. The problem is one of education and politics. No government where a nincompoop democracy (frankly that is what western democracies are) is place can turn our fate around. – The earth will live on, just without the nasty layer of the biosphere that is raping and consuming its gift for life at an unsustainable rate.

    And this bible passage: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Is responsible for untold and completely unnecessary suffering of other sentient life under our stewardship and also the state of the our planet. We have a race against the time that is left to colonise some corner of space to ensure the survival of the species. People who hold beliefs and strong opinions without evidence need not apply to become members of the new outpost of humanity. May the 4th be with you.

  12. If god created the universe and everything in it, he also created evil. Disasters, wars, disease and crime are all part and parcel of creation; there is nowhere that they can come from, other than the universe god created.

    The classic christian answer is that sin comes from our free will, which god gave us as a test to see how much we love him. The more we love him the gooder we choose to be! That is of course unless you are a Calvinist, in which case god has chosen you as one of his pals (of the elect), and that is why you live a good life, as an upright Swiss, Dutch or Scottish bourgeois. If you’re not one of the chosen, you’re damned, and there’s nothing you can do about it, good works and faith won’t be of any help.

    Apart from making god into some sort of manipulative player of psychotic games, neither of these lines of reasoning comes near to solving the antinomy, In mainstream christianity, the volitions which spring from our free will must also be god created (Lord and Creator of all things), and the instances of evil, even the possibilities of these instances, must all be of divine origin; there is only one source for everything. If you’re a Calvinist, then presumably you believe that god made you of the elect, but most of the others, are for the pit of hell, and good riddance to them.

    As Randolph Churchill said, “God was a bugger!” So in a different way, was poor old Randolph, although by all accounts a good bloke, but alas he’s long dead, and god is still with us, at least in some people’s deluded imaginations.

    • In reply to #26 by Kevin Murrell:
      Those who imagine a nuclear war Armagedon is part of god’s plan would have to answer the question, ” Did god place the uranium in the Earth’s crust before life on earth started so that humans could wipe themselves out with it ? “. Also if they answer no, then how did it get there ? If they think the uranium got to Earth as left overs from the formation of the Sun then that contradicts the Bible anyway., which has the Earth created before the Sun. Why would a god need humans to destroy the planet with a nuclear war when he could just send a few asteroids ? Plausible deniability ? Looks better on god if he lets humans commit suicide.

      To plan the destruction of life on earth before humans emerged as a distinct species sounds like a weird sort of plan. Well it ends the idea of free will because everything that ever happened on Earth was pre-determined by that illogic. Of course I think that is not reality and people can choose to do the best, most caring thing, or at least aim to.

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